The Untold Truth Of D Smoke

D Smoke — whose real name is Daniel Farris — was one of the more surprising nominations at the 2021 Grammys. Hailing from Inglewood, Calif., the rapper and songwriter is up for two awards at the prestigious music ceremony after independently releasing his first album Black Habits in February 2020, following a stint on the Netflix music competition series Rhythm + Flow.

D Smoke is up for Best Rap Album and Best New Artist at the 63rd annual Grammy Awards, taking place on March 14, 2021, where he’s got some stiff competition. For Best Rap Album, he’s going up against some major heavyweights in the form of Nas for King’s Disease, Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist for Alfredo, Jay Electronica’s A Written Testimony, and the Royce da 5’9″ album The Allegory.

Over in the Best New Artist category, the up-and-comer will face off against some more familiar faces and some lesser known artists in the form of Ingrid Andress, Phoebe Bridgers, Noah Cyrus, Chika, Doja Cat, Kaytranada, and Megan Thee Stallion.

But what’s the real untold truth about D Smoke? Keep reading to find out.

D Smoke has a turbulent family history

D Smoke tells the story of his unconventional upbringing on Black Habits, which is a personal retelling of his personal life growing up in California. When the rapper was young, his father went to prison for six-and-a-half years on drug-related charges and he was raised by a single mother.

Speaking to Los Angeles Times, the rapper called his debut release “a family history, a story of triumph through mad hardships” while admitting that he knows he’s not the only one who had a difficult childhood. “The beauty of my story is that it’s so many people’s story. I was born in the ’80s. Pops went to jail for drug-related charges, and Moms was doing the single mother thing while pursuing music on her own,” he said.

The star also opened up about his father’s absence growing up affected him, admitting during a 2019 interview with People that the difficult period in his life actually gave him a lot of strength. “I was a knucklehead when my dad was locked up, and in doing so, I became real acquainted with the side of myself that didn’t take s**t from nobody,” he said.

D Smoke's father's criminal past changed him

D Smoke almost didn’t become a rapper, but it was his time away from his father during his more than six years in prison that changed his career path, as he probably would have become a classical pianist otherwise. “That’s the x-factor that allows me to speak to a whole different set of people that may actually need music. I think there are people who enjoy and there are people who live by it,” he told Grammy.com.

He’s also spoken out about how his father’s release from prison helped change his attitude after he found himself fighting in school a lot while his dad was away. Speaking to People, he described him coming home as “a beautiful adjustment” for his life and spoke about how his desire to be a better father had a positive impact on his life.

“We prayed for it every night as kids and then when he gets there, he exceeds our expectations,” D Smoke said. “My dad was a baseball coach, he was driving us around, chauffeuring us around. He was very present and very active in our lives. Part of the reason why I have such a big passion for mentorship is because he was a hands-on dad.”

D Smoke's mom and brother are famous, too

D Smoke isn’t the only member of his family who has undeniable musical talent. His mom, known as Ms. Jackie, also had big dreams and made it pretty far in her career as a singer. She toured the world as a background vocality and performed background vocals for huge names including Michael Jackson and Tina Turner. As for his brother, he’s the R&B singer SiR — real name Sir Darryl Farris — who signed to the same label as Kendrick Lamar, Top Dawg Entertainment, in 2017 (via Oprah Magazine). D Smoke has credited their mom for their musical abilities.

Describing her as “everything” to himself and his brother in a People interview, D Smoke recalled how his mom worked hard to get them piano and vocal lessons as they grew up in a “very structured musical education” household. The family also lead the music at their local church every weekend. “She had a very direct, tangible influence on who my brothers and I grew up to be as musicians. I personally took to the piano. I enjoyed the medium of expression on it. It led into me getting into production and artistry,” he shared.

When Ms. Jackie celebrated her 57th birthday at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, D Smoke and SiR made it extra special by gifting her a Yamaha C3 Grand Piano, fulfilling a dream she’d had to own one for 40 years (via Grammy.com).

D Smoke had a violent childhood

D Smoke wasn’t exactly a saint as a kid and detailed some of his physical altercations in a 2020 interview with The Fader. He recalled how he got into trouble in second grade after another kid splashed him with a puddle. “In a split second I was like ‘oh hell no,’ and I socked him in the stomach,” he remembered, admitting the kid “doubled over,” but didn’t fight back.

D Smoke got a telling-off from a teacher, but said he didn’t have any trouble from the kid again. “Moral of the story is, don’t stand by puddles if you don’t want to get wet,” he said. He recalled another time when he was seven years old and defended a friend from a bully. D Smoke said he found himself “punching upwards” at the kid because he was taller than him, noting he got “five shots” in before they were separated.

D Smoke also opened up about an altercation when he was riding on a bus when another kid started talking about his father while he was in prison. “As soon as he said it I took a smack, smack, smack, smack, smack,” he said, admitting the bus driver threw him off the bus. The rapper shared how he would always tell his dad about his fights when he visited him in prison, saying, “I felt like he would want to know that I was defending his honor in his absence.”

D Smoke shocked Cardi B

D Smoke came as a surprise to his fellow rapper Cardi B. During his first appearance on Rhythm + Flow, Cardi admitted she wasn’t expecting him to be so good. He appeared in front of the “WAP” hitmaker and fellow judges Snoop Dogg, Chance the Rapper, and T.I. in coveralls and a brown knit cap, which didn’t exactly scream the next rap superstar.

Cardi B hit the rapper with a bit of a backhanded compliment following his audition performance after he performed in both English and Spanish. Cardi told him that she thought he was a janitor when he hit the stage, admitting (via Los Angeles Times), “You really impressed me, because when I saw you, I thought you was gonna mop some floors.” D Smoke went on to win the competition alongside the $250,000 prize and the opportunity to be represented by the big time talent agency WME.

He did some admirable things with his prize money, including paying back his mom and dad (via Grammy.com). D Smoke told TV Guide in 2019 that he also had plans to invest his windfall as well as helping others. “I’m going to give out a couple of scholarships to young people in the community through events where we can share information about what programs are available to the kids, and then of course kids, and then of course I’m going to be investing in my craft. I also will buy a place in Inglewood,” he added.

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